As he catches his breath on the rocky ledge alongside the Living Waters under the mines of Mandalore, Din Djarin’s first words after being pulled from the water are, “I am redeemed” (Season 3, Episode 3, The Convert). Mission accomplished. Din Djarin has bathed in the Living Waters of Mandalore, atoning for the transgression of removing his helmet in the presence of other people.
It was Bo-Katan Kryze, the one-time terrorist who joined forces with Darth Maul and waged war some 30 years earlier against her own sister, Dutchess Satine Kryze, who pulled Din Djarin out of the water. Din had stepped into the waters whilst speaking the oath and, unexpectedly, sunk when he stepped off an apparent ledge into a massive cavern filled with water. Bo-Katan dove into the waters, pulled Din from the cavern floor, and used her jetpack to return to the water’s surface carrying Din Djarin to safety.
In this way, then, both Din Djarin and Bo-Katan washed in Mandalore’s Living Waters. For Din Djarin, it was an intentional and penitential act, accompanied by speaking the oath. For Bo-Katan it wasn’t ritual that sent her into the waters, but instinct. No matter the details of her identity crisis and sad throne room pouting sessions, Bo-Katan’s loyalty to her fellow Mandalorian led her to dive into the dark and unknown waters of the mines. She did not speak an oath, yet as she entered the Living Waters she demonstrated the essence of Mandalorian identity – loyalty.
For Bo-Katan it wasn’t ritual that sent her into the waters, but instinct.
“Loyalty and solidarity are the way,” Din Djarin says to an agreeing Armorer in an episode from The Book of Boba Fett. Indeed, the so-called Children of the Watch demonstrate exceptional and admirable loyalty. Throughout this series this covert has:
- welcomed Din Djarin as a foundling
- sacrificed the safety of the covert and the lives of many of its members by helping Din Djarin and Grogu escape Moff Gideon
- welcomed Din Djarin and Bo-Katan after they both washed in the Living Waters under the mines of Mandalore
- trained Din Djarin in use of the Dark Saber (clearly, however, he still has plenty to learn)
Much of the fandom chatter around this band of Mandalorians takes the lead from Bo-Katan, who in Season 2 of The Mandalorian said, “Children of the Watch are a cult of religious zealots that broke away from Mandalorian society. Their goal was to reestablish the ancient way.” Yet, as I stated above, it is Bo-Katan who was the terrorist. Fans call them a cult, extremists, and radicals, but are we convinced this group of Mandalorians is so bad?
Bo-Katan’s derision of “the ancient ways” is clear. While she announces that her father “was a great man,” she also describes a childhood religious upbringing that was more interested in the pomp of royal spectacle than anything else. “I took the Creed. I was showered with gifts. But the rituals were all just theater for our subjects. They loved watching the princess recite the Mandalorian tenets as her father looked on proudly. Such a heart-warming spectacle.” She gazes upon the ruins of Mandalore with a kind of remorse, recalling that she once ruled there, briefly … “but now there’s nothing to cling to but ashes.”
Din Djarin, who never lived on Mandalore, is not defeated by the sight of a destroyed planet. He clings to the Creed. “Without the Creed, what are we? What do we stand for? Our people are scattered like stars in the galaxy. The Creed is how we survived.” For Din Djarin, Mandalorian identity is wrapped up in Creed, loyalty, community. Bo-Katan only sees a planet and a civilization that her royal family lost to civil war and to the Empire. While she claims to detest the “ancient ways,” perhaps what she really detests is how she was treated as a child and member of a royal family that was more concerned with being royal than with being a family or being Mandalorian, a family that lost control of everything.
The “ancient ways,” ultimately, will restore Mandalore. Will they restore Bo-Katan? Bo-Katan demonstrated great loyalty and bravery by saving Din Djarin from the waters, yet she keeps from him and from the covert knowledge of the existence of the legendary mythasaur, which she saw in the Living Waters under the mines while she rescued Din Djarin. Just as she did last season, using Mandalorian lore around the Dark Saber for her own power game, she again this season uses Mandalorian lore around the mythasaur for her own benefit. Just how she plans to use this information is not yet clear.
The Children of the Watch warmly welcome Din Djarin and Bo-Katan into their covert, demonstrating a loyalty to Creed and community that rises above other divisions. When Bo-Katan acknowledges that she does not “walk the Way,” the Armorer declares that she can leave whenever she wants. Yet, since she bathed in the waters and has not removed her helmet since, she is welcome to live among them in accordance to the Way, “as your ancestors once did.” This community, through the gift of faith, may succeed in rehabilitating Bo-Katan from aggrieved failed ruler to recommitted, loyal Mandalorian.
As for what’s happening next, it’s anyone’s guess. Din Djarin opened this season by killing a monster that threatened his fellow Mandalorians. Will he do it again by taming the mythasaur, adding to his credentials to lead Mandalore? This is possible, as he is a reluctant leader … and reluctant leaders often make the best leaders.